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Confessions of an Inept Game Designer: 360iDev Game Jam Post 1

I’ve written one game my entire life, and I think I was 11 at the time, and it involved PRINT@ statements on the TRS-80 Model 1, so I don’t exactly consider myself a game designer.

That said, I’m attending the 360iDev conference, and they have an all-night game-design session they call the Game Jam, and it sounds like too educational an opportunity to pass up. And if I’m going to remember much after staying up all night, I’m going to have to write it down, and I figure there are worse places than my blog, so here goes:

The theme, as announced this morning was “Change the World”. Thought about social and environment issues, global warming, etc very briefly. I have no idea how to make any of that fun, so I threw them out.

Had a picture in my head of “ The Big Blue Marble” from Apollo 17, which is what I usually think of when I think of “The World”, so that made me think of how I would “change” that picture. I don’t think I could do any kind of matrix math on it, but I can throw a partially transparent PNG over it to change the color of it. Why would I need to change the color of the world?

Thinking next of the great demo from Tom Frauenhofer’s cocos2d talk from yesterday. First time I’d ever touched cocos2d, and it’s the only iPhone game framework I’ve ever touched, so I figured I’d try to use it. He had an bad alien-looking guy moving back and forth made me think about aliens, which lead to a space-invaders-like “aliens marching from the top of the screen” thought.

So I want to change the color of the world to protect it from aliens, so the aliens must have different colors, too. So now I’m into an Ikaruga-like color dynamic.

I threw “world”, “color” and “defense” into thesaurus.com and found two words that looked like they might fit together and went from “Protectant” to “ProtectTint”. Quick search in the app store on my phone, not stomping on any obvious trademark (not that I’m planning on shipping this, but I don’t want to tick someone off). Typed up a quick description and posted it on gamejam.360idev.com and committed myself before I came to my senses and backed out.

So I’ll see how big a fool I make out of myself tonight. Hopefully I’ll learn something from making a fool out of myself.